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  1. #1
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    The inevitable happened. The hard drive on my PC crashed and it is one PITA to reclaim the data. Turned the computer on one morning and got a "no operating system" message. Got another hard drive to move the files and found out the old drive had to be reformatted meaning it would lose all the data on it. Tracked the hard drive problem down to a heat problem in the PC caused by the hard drive itself. Turns out hard drives give off a lot of heat.

    Here are some lessons I learned the hard way. Hopefully they'll help someone else.

    If you hear abnormal sounds coming from your hard drive, turn off your computer immediately. Chances are the drive is going to have a mechanical failure. If it fails mechanically (which mine didn't), the only way to reclaim the data you have on the drive is to send it to a 3rd party to reclaim the data. Cost will be a couple of thousand dollars (US) at a minimum.

    If your drive fails due to a non-mechanical problem, you yourself can reclaim most of the data on the drive. There are a variety of programs that allow you to do this. I'd suggest you don't go to a computer store to buy a data recovery program (they cost about $70) as some data recovery programs reclaim more data than others, and there's a 50/50 chance that any single program will not be able to reclaim the data. Once you buy the program you're SOL if it doesn't reclaim the data you need. Try online recovery programs. They'll analyze the failed drive and show you the data that's going to be reclaimed before you pay anything. If you want to reclaim it, then you pay a fee.

    I looked at a couple of programs. Binary Bizwhich charges $99.95 per GB and Runtime Software (http://www.runtime.org/; not Runtime Software at www.runtimesoftware.com) which for about $70 gives you a registry code which allows you to reclaim as much data as you want. I chose Runtime for monetary reasons since I needed about 14GB of data off the old drive.

    These data recovery programs also allow you to reclaim data that you have deleted from your PC. Remember that it's always there; you just can't see it. If you want to see what's on your computer that's been deleted, use one of the programs. You're able to open (but not copy and save) any file. If you want the file, open it up and then mannually copy it.

    You will only be able to recover data. You cannot recover programs. You also will not be able to recover passwords so make sure you put them in a separate text file, on another drive or write them down.

    None of the programs I saw will recover 100% of the data from a crashed drive. They'll vary from about 80-99%. None of them will reclaim any data that has been corrupted.

    You can not reclaim data onto the same drive. In other words, you can't create a new file on the drive and put the reclaimed data into it. You must put the reclaimed data on another hard drive. I lucked out and was able to get a 160GB Maxtor hard drive for about $60 at Fryes for this purpose.

    Found a trick that quite a few technicians use when a drive is going mechanically bad. They put it into a freezer for 3-4 hours, put it back on the PC and then transfer the data from one drive to another quickly.

    A hard drive should be warm to the touch, not hot. Next time you turn off your PC, touch the top of the hard drive (after you touch the frame of course). If it is very warm or hot, you're looking at potential disaster. Place another cooling fan in your PC. I found one for $13 that vents out of a PCI/ISA slot. My drives are running a lot cooler now.

    Check to see where your hard drive is located. The idiot that built my machine put it in the bay directly below the floppy drive. Result is that the heat from the hard drive was not disapating the way it should. Make sure there's at least a single bay/slot above the hard drive so the fan can circulate the hot air away from the hard drive.

    One thing I did lose was all my saved emails. Seems Windows saves them in a format that makes them unclaimable.

    Hope this info helps everyone.

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Big bummer I've had to tackle once for myself and manytimes for clients. Cooling expense is something the PC manufacturers sacrifice as the failures happen long after the checks clear the bank.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear of your issues and thanking you for sharing some of your findings. Hopefully this will help other members avoid, or atleast know what to do when these things you point out start happening.

    Ray Thomas
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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your misfortune, I've been there as well. Computers are great when they work, and awful when they don't. You don't realize how much you have to lose until you've lost it.

    Andy

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  5. #5
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    I hear you there. You don't know how many programs, files, etc you rely on until you lose them. How many of us know the numerical address of the server our websites have been on for the last few years so you can FTP it? I couldn't remember.

  6. #6
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I use an Iomega exteral hard drive hooked up to my USB 2 port for backup - not expensive and fairly easy to use on XP (the backup software didn't work too well on my old Win 98 PC).

    Here's a data recovery tip - make sure the drive is cold before trying to reclaim data. If necessary, bag it up in an antistatic bag and put it in the refrigerator or even freezer cool it down, reconnect it to the PC (ensuring there's no condensation) and try again. It can often recover data from a mechanically bad HD. The important thing is not to let condensation form on it else you'll short the drive electronics.

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  7. #7
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    I got 2 drives and a floppy and the bay holds 3 only.. so it's cramped

    I keep copies of important stuff on each drive and make regular backups to CDRW or DVDRW.. considering getting one of those thumb drives as well.

    I need to setup a script or something to backup all the folders I consider important.. particularly email, websites, bookmarks, dreamweaver snippets, etc

  8. #8
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    Discover RAID, it is a beautiful this.

    Oh, and there are reasons why SCSI drives are more expensive than IDE-based drives.

    IamJaloppy

  9. #9
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    OUCH!!

    I feel your pain.... I have had that happen to me twice!

    I have run my computers with one side cover off and a little fan blowing cool air into the box in the warm months to keep things cooled

    JOe

    And, that's the bottom line because it's my2cents!

  10. #10
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    Jaloppy is right...RAID is the way to go. I use two hard drives myself and back each one up to the other. Another thing I use that no one metioned yet are hard drive heat sinks. The heat sinks rap around three side of the drive and work real well. My heat sinks came with fans on the front to blow air across them but they started making so much noise I had to disconnect them. They still work well.

    [This message was edited by BradleyB on February 15, 2004 at 06:38 PM.]

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bob95603:
    These data recovery programs also allow you to reclaim data that you have deleted from your PC. Remember that it's always there; you just can't see it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Deleted data is only there so long as new data doesn't overwrite it.

  12. #12
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    Ow. Thanks for sharing the good info. After reading about your painful experience I had a panic attack just thinking of the hassle it would cause me if my pc crashed so I just bought an Iomega HDD. I'm not techie enough to figure out RAID.

  13. #13
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    BradleyB -

    Never heard of heat sinks for drives before and looked them up. Looks like they could do a great job in keeping fast spinning hard disks cool. That plus the fan I put in the PCI/ISA should keep the whole unit cool by pulling air into the front and pushing hot air out of the back.

  14. #14
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bob95603:
    BradleyB -

    Never heard of heat sinks for drives before and looked them up. Looks like they could do a great job in keeping fast spinning hard disks cool. That plus the fan I put in the PCI/ISA should keep the whole unit cool by pulling air into the front and pushing hot air out of the back.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Bob, glad I could help. Many folks don't realize how keeping a computer cool can greatly extend their life. I have seen many poorly designed computers when it come to cooling. Your putting a slot fan in the box will help a lot. I buit my system using an Antec case. The case is very configurable and IMO are the best. Mine has three intake (one in the side over the video card) and three exhust fans, a high perforance cpu heat sink and fan as well as HDD sinks. Can't have too much cooling IMO (need a good power supply if you want to run a lot of additional equipment). I am able to keep my computer runnig under 90 deg(F) during normal operations. Good luck!

    Brad

  15. #15
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Found a trick that quite a few technicians use when a drive is going mechanically bad. They put it into a freezer for 3-4 hours, put it back on the PC and then transfer the data from one drive to another quickly <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    BOB!!! You get a huge cyber kiss!!! My 250 gig external died a few weeks ago and I have been recreating files ever since. The tech at CompUsa told me to put it in the freezer, but didn't say for HOW LONG. So being conservative I froze it for about 30-45 minutes, twice. NaDa. After your post I froze it for 4 hours and am RIGHT NOW copying files off of it to my brand new TWO other external drive. I will never have just one external again, and I will have a string of 120's instead of a 250!!!!

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  16. #16
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    Bob, Sorry to hear about the hard drive problems... that sucks, but it got me trying to back stuff up right away & now I'm finding that I'm having problems w/ my CD burner

    Anyway, I sent you a PM about two weeks ago... check it out and get back to me if you have a minute

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  17. #17
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    Deborah,

    Glad I could help.

    However, you usually only get one shot at it so do it as fast as possible.

    Regards,

    Bob

  18. #18
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    USB2 to USB2, moving it as fast as I can. I'll stay up all night if I have to. It already cut out once, but came right back up so I am taking the most important files off first. About 100 gigs of digital images need to be moved, then 80 gigs of other stuff... About 20 gigs was backed up to CD before it died....

    Deborah Carney
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  19. #19
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Been there, done that. I was fortunate to have backups of almost everything important. About a year ago, I knew my old laptop was on it's last legs and had bought a new one and was in the process of installing everything on the new one and making backups when the old one bit the dust.

    An large external USB2 hard drive is your friend. Fast, easy backups. I found "Second Copy" to be a very useful backup program for either manual or scheduled backups of selected files/directories or everything.

    I had a HUGE scare a couple weeks ago. I heard what sounded almost exactly like a crashed head. It had been months (YIKES!) since my last backup. It turned out that it was one of the cooling fans rubbing.

    Michael Coley
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  20. #20
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    Data Recovery
    Now a days hard drive failure becomes the order of the day. There are many people who are suffering data loss due to hard drive failure or crash. Thanks to data recovery software companies who have came out with data recovery software and services. I would like to add another data recovery software into the list. Its called Stellar Phoenix FAT & NTFS (stellarinfo.com). A data recovery product which can restore or recover all the data lost after accidental format, virus problems, software malfunction, file/directory deletion, or even a sabotage!. It provides partition recovery from FAT 16, FAT 32, NTFS & NTFS 5 file system.
    It can recover data even from the formated hard drive.


    Demo version can be downloaded from the site (stellarinfo.com). Demo version shows the recovered data. To save the data buy the full version.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; August 8th, 2006 at 02:26 PM. Reason: Removed links

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    WOW! you resurrected a 2 and a half year old post for a first-post spam!

    Now that's thinking out of the box.

  22. #22
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    lots of spammers working over the weekend

    I did not know that it was 2 yrs ago and I was reading through it till i got to the last post. Did not see the date

    Just a FYI, for hard drive failure, try using ezrecovery. works well for HD, floppy and zip failure.. it does raw recovery and goes beyond what you have to pick up the 1-0 data

    moving on.. this thread should be locked

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by FairFieldGetaway-EricEwe

    I did not know that it was 2 yrs ago and I was reading through it till i got to the last post. Did not see the date
    Forum is meant for giving your ideas so that other could be benifited from that. It was my bad luck that I came across this posting after a long time. I am suggesting the data recovery software so that it may be benificial to other viewers of the forum.

  24. #24
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    Paul, that software was actually recommended to me by someone else when a flash card crashed... it didn't work in my case, but the demo does show enough for you to know if you can use the full version or not. Helpful info in this case...
    Deborah Carney
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  25. #25
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_PX
    It was my bad luck that I came across this posting after a long time. I am suggesting the data recovery software so that it may be benificial to other viewers of the forum.
    No, it was your bad luck that you came here to spam. Stick to legitimate means for promoting your software. It's good software, but you're going to tarnish your reputation by spamming.
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